28 Sep 2013

Night of the Living Trekkies


Once upon a time my girl got sick. 
Then her girl got sick. 

Then I cared for them both. Remarkably I did not get sick. Despite the odds I was absolutely fine, and they got better and all was right with the world.
 
Then there was an earthquake and my work had to move to a small room in another building. That room was full of angry people and surrounded by sick people.

Then I got sick. 


I went through the seven stages of flu; hope, coughing up gloop, sneezing and
coughing up gloop, coughing fits so hard it appears you are auditioning for a movie about consumption, napping at inconvenient times and waking up in weird places, hope followed by coughing, and then better but still a bit shite.  At that last stage my beloved fiance took me to the library and got me a book, and this is it.
 
 Synopsis
Jim Pike was a massive Star trek fan until his last tour in Afghanistan broke him.  Once home he ends up working in a hotel in Huston Texas, hiding away from everything and everyone. But when a star trek convention books his hotel Jim is faced with more than nerds with Phasers, but a zombie apocalypse. 

Dun dun dun. 

There are no real surprises here, well one but that would be a spoiler. It is a pretty standard Zombie story, but that's fine. This book was written by hard core Trekkie fan boys, but not to the point you have to be one to enjoy the story.


 Night of the Living Trekkies  is a funny little novel about the perils of sci fi conventions, zombies and star trek trivia. It is written simply but competently, and when you just want to relax and be entertained it was just what I wanted.  It was really nice just to pick up a book and enjoy it so much I didn't want to put it down. 

I give Night of the Living Trekkies  6.5  monkeys.

22 Sep 2013

A medley of surprising Movies

Recently I was visited by the first horseman of the apocalypse. Do not be alarmed he is having his bedroom redone and is apparently dossing down around Wellington. But while he was staying the selfish bastard shoved a shoggoth down my lungs while I was asleep

Needless to say I have been slightly poorly for the last five or so days as I have been attempting to cough up this gloppy monster and this epic quest has delayed this post. But due to the love of a good woman, and despite the stupid government ban on pseudoephedrine, I have succeed for the most part and can now procced.
Worst house guest ever

Now any successful relationship requires a degree of compromise, and living in a household of  girls requires even more so.  While I might fancy three hours of Akira Kurwasara, or The 39 Steps by Hitchcock,  or Gattaca or  Star Wars, the 12 year old in the house most definitely will not.  (well maybe Star Wars)

Frankly I don't understand why, surely any part of a child's comprehensive education should include exposure to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari from 1920? or Han Solo dispatching Greedo before he is killed.

Better than Beiber surely?


Ensue melodramatic sigh.

But we as a family have watched a few DVDs of late and I thought I would give a quick run down  of each of them. All of them were family friendly except for one which was exclusively for Friday the 13th.

Ensue family Hijinx

Beautiful Creatures

This looked much like a Twilight  rip off, but with witches instead of Vampires. However after having to sit down and watch it I was completely surprised.  This is a  film adaptation of the book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and sure this movie is cashing in on the  Twilight  francises success, however Beautiful Creatures manages to avoid the obvious cliches and remain entertaining. 

It  is the story of Ethan, a boy living in Gatlin, a tiny town in South Carolina. Ethan  meets Lena, a girl from a family who is ostracised by the rest of the conservative community. Ethan yearns to leave Gatlin, and as Lena is the antithesis of all that Gatlin society likes is instantly attracted to her. His perseverence wins Lena over, and a romance develops. But once Ethan wins Lena over, he also discovers that the rumours about Lena and her family being witches are  true. 


One thing we all found refreshing was that Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) did not turn out to have any crazy supernatural powers of his own.  He was just a normal kid in a supernatural world, which pretty bucks the trend. The relationship between the two young lovers was romantic without being awkward or unhealthy. Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons were great as well.  The best thing I can say for it is that, it isn't  Twilight!
 
The girls found it surprising  and it was Squeaky apropriate.

Six Monkeys from me. 

Warm Bodies

I have also heard of this film being referred to as the  Twlight of Zombie films whch sounds like a fairly harsh call.  Although one thing the Twilight movies have done for us is given a new definition of bad. 

I was given the novel by Isaac Marion and I liked it. Not sure if I liked how it ended, but the novel was good. In fact I thought that the movie was an improvement over the book, which was another pleasant surprise.  A little violence, but acceptable standards for a mature 12 year old, and the only thing she was scared about was whether there would be a happy ending or not. 
Nicholas Hoult was a great R, and made the film funny and engaging with his voice over. It was a good zom-rom-com.

Both the girls liked it and Squeaky got more engaged than she thought she would. Despite a little gore it was fine for Squeaky, but on the cusp.

Six and a half monkeys. 

Mean Girls

Before the drugs, the rehab, the dubious dalliance into Lesbians and even more drugs, Lindsay Lohan was a fun, talented actress. In this teen movie classic from 2004 we are reminded of what could have been, but Amanda Seyfried and Rachel McAdams went on to better things and Lindsay went to rehab.

Mean Girls is a enjoyable teen comedy about the new girl  in school who falls a foul of the popular clique and seeks revenge by infiltrating them determined to bring them down from within.

It is your typical school age film, entertaining and fun with a young but familiar cast. Squeaky loved it, especially as she recognised many of the cast from tv she watches now,  The Middle, Suburbgatory  and that is because there is a Saturday Night live link trough Tina fey who adapted the screen play from the book.

Six and a half monkeys from me as it is very re watchable even now.


Rise of the Guardians

Thankfully Squeaky still enjoys animated movies and she decided on this one.  Not a film that previously attracted me to it despite the ensemble cast, but once we sat down to watch it we all enjoyed it.

The Boogy man has returned to plunge the world into darkness and fear through the dreams of children. Opposing him are the four gaurdians, Santa Claus, The Sandman, The tooth Fairie, the Easter Bunny and newly recruited Jack Frost. Jack has identity issues, especially as none of the children he is protecting know he exists.
Alec Baldwin the bane of paparazzi was great as the Russina warrior Claus, Jude Law was excellent as the boogy man, and it took me a while to recognise Chris Pine, recently from the captains chair of the Star ship Enterprise, but in a good way.

Again we were entertained and pleasantly surprised, and the elves were my favorite.
Seven monkeys from me.

Mama

This is not Squeaky  appropriate at all, and was a choice for after she was in bed. A moive  Guillermo del Toro gave his name to as the executive producer but did not direct or write. AndrĂ©s Muschietti wrote the original story and the screenplay with his sister Barbara and he also directed it. Jessica Chastain ( Zero Dark Thirty)  and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) star in this creepy creepy movie.

Coster-Waldau plays twin brothers, one who goes mad and kills his wife and flees into the woods with his two daughters and is never seen again. The other brother spends every penny he has to find his missing brother and nieces, and he eventually find his neices alone in the woods. Or are they?

 Mama was a massive dispointment. It started strong and was certainly creepy enough, but there were storylines that went nowhere,  the ending didn't really gel with the story up to that point,  and the film was deeply unsatisfactory.

Four Monkeys from me.

That is all the DVDs we have been watching as of late, well except for the Midsumer Murders (Apparently the Shortland Street of the UK). Once I am well enough I will be taking my Lady to Rush. 

Night

4 Sep 2013

Batman vs Superman?



I had intended to blog about this a lot earlier. Then I saw a discussion on facebook about Ben Affleck being the new Batman which had a link which included many of my thoughts. And then the breakfast team on TV1 discussed it and I realised that the topic was stale. Currently the interwebbery is focussing on crying about the casting decisions of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Why Matt Bomer and Alexis Bledelare better choices than Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnsonis a topic I have little interest in personally. But if anyone has any strong opinions I am happy to discuss it in the future.

However it has come to my attention during the various Ben Affleck discussions that the upcoming Batman and Superman movie planned to be released in 2015 may be a total dog. 

Now my comments in this post may come across as a little dated, especially as allot of my thoughts have been already aired by others. I guess that this is a timely reminder to post swiftly otherwise you just sound  derivative. 

Initially people were displeased with the choice of Ben Affleck. The facebook discussion like many others  centred on should the actor who starred in  Pearl Harbour and Gigli be the new Batman? However after this link (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/7987-Batfleck)   was posted, opinions appeared to warm to Ben Affleck as the new caped crusader.

Very  briefly the article said the Affleck was exceptionally talented award winning artist who admittedly has made some bad movies, but so what which actor hasn't. There was also a comparison to the  to Robert Downey jr being cast as Tony Stark in  Ironman.The article makes several excellent points which I agree with, however I remain unconvinced. 

Yes it is unfair to say he is a bad choice  based on some previous bad movie roles, and I completely agree that Ben Affleck is an exceptionally talented actor, writer, director and producer.  But does that mean that this combination makes good casting choice? Woody Allen, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood are award winning actors, writers and directors, but none of them should be Batman. Well OK maybe Eastwood as a really old batman, how cool would that be?
 
http://timesnewgeek.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/darkest-knight-clint-eastwood-as-batman.html 
But seriously you need an actor that can have the range to do Bruce Wayne (well that’s easy) and the Batman (not so easy). Also you need to have an actor to work alongside Cavill's Superman? I am not sold that Affleck is the best choice, and I think that it is a bit of a knee jerk reaction to cast an A list actor ensure the success following the criticism of  Man of Steel.   

I think the best choice, as suggested by my beautiful partner should be Karl Urban.  He is successful and well known, but not famous enough to overshadow Cavill. Urban also has the talent and the range to portray such an iconic character. Look at his performance in Dredd for example of how dark he can go.

I am Batdredd.....Judge Bat?
However Alea iacta est, (or Alea fleck est?). No what this post is about the disturbing comment that it appears that the movie will be based on Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns.  Miller a talented misogynist who also created the comics  Sin City, and 300, also created the highly acclaimed comic series Dark Knight Returns where Superman, a stooge of an oppressive American government battles an ageing Batman who the establishment feels is a threat to their authority. Now while I initially liked the story line of an aging Batman having to come out of retirement to save a city that resents him, the next part of the story I didn't enjoy at all. You see unlike other DC comic in the Dark Knight Returns Batman and Superman are enemies.


This bothers me alot.


One of the problems with Man of Steel for me was the terribly long fight scenes. For some reason a lot of movies are suffering from over indulgent, overly long, and frankly dull fight scenes.  Fight scenes can further the plot and still be exciting and dramatic. But too much of a good thing becomes dull. Consider Michael Bay, now that you have  you see my point. 

From memory  Miller’s Dark Knight Returns has a substantively drawn out battle between Superman and Batman. Do Warner Brothers think, "Hmmmm Man of Steel only made $290 million dollars, what went wrong? I know we need longer fights scenes for the next film! Maybe 107 minutes should do it." 

But possibly more of an issue is that the Superman from  Man of Steel is humane, and independent. The end of Man of Steel quite clearly defined that character as not a weapon of the government. At the end of the film when Superman is speaking to General Swanwick  he says" I'm here to help but it has to be on my own terms." Henry Cavill's Superman is clearly not Frank Miller's Superman. 

So why are they fighting? Ummmmmmmmmm no good reason? The two heroes compliment each other as much as they are at opposite ends of the spectrum in regards to type. The concept just doesn't gel with me at all. Clark Kent is one of the few real friends that Bruce Wayne has,  these guys are mates.
Zack says no more Batsies for you Clark
OK I understand why some people like Ben Affleck might think that he would make a good Batman, but I don't. And I understand why some people like Frank Millers  Dark Knight Returns,  but I don't.  I didn't mind Man of Steel  and I was interested in a sequel and the inevitable Justice league movie but the Dark Knight Returns  storyline leaves me cold. 

Zack Snyder is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, who will then pen the screenplay while Snyder directs. I can only hope that they really go in a different direction or they will probably kill the franchise deader than Joel Schumacher and his nippled Bat suit.